Letter: Add the Words

February 17, 2014 

Forty-four folks were recently arrested for blocking the entrance to the Senate chambers at the Statehouse. They refer to themselves as “Add the 4 Words Idaho” because they want to add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act, which presently bans discrimination in employment, housing, and business services based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin and disability.

Our understanding is that these folks are simply asking that a hearing be held on this issue. One may not agree with their tactics in calling attention to this issue. One might even disagree with their desire to add the four words. But we are puzzled as to why our elected leaders will not even hold a hearing so that this matter can be openly discussed and publicly voted on.

We would like to hear the argument against amending the act to include the four words, especially since seven cities in Idaho have already instituted sexual orientation-based protections for gay residents. We think our elected leaders owe us an explanation. We do consider our gay and lesbian friends children of God, do we not? Or does that get to the heart of the issue?

JIM GRUNOW, Pastor, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church (ELCA), Boise; KARI SANSGAARD, Pastor, King of Glory Lutheran Church (ELCA), Boise; MARILYN DEVEER, Pastor, Grace Luther Church (ELCA), Horseshoe Bend; KEITH HAMMER, Pastor and Mission Coach, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, (ELCA), Boise; REV. D. LOTHAR PIETZ, (retired), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Boise; REV. DR. TOM CHRISTENSEN, (retired), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Boise

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